The ongoing family feud for control over the estimated seven billion-rupee business empire linked to the Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre in Mumbai on Saturday took a new turn with a top trustee hitting out at others.
In a statement issue here, the hospital's permanent and managing trustee Niket V. Mehta said that he was shocked by a statement issued last week by his relatives, Chetan Mehta, Prabodh Mehta and Rashmi Mehta, claiming that he was not a trustee of the institution.
Hitting back, Niket Mehta - who was assaulted last week by goons - said that he had been appointed a managing trustee and a permanent trustee vide a board of trustees resolution passed Oct 16, 2002.
On the contrary, he pointed out that Prabodh Mehta has been convicted for forgery of Rs.1.7 billion and sentenced to a jail term of six months, besides the imposition of a fine of Rs.1.7 billion, by a Belgium court.
"According to Indian rules, any person convicted in a crime cannot be appointed a trustee, and subsequently, on March 17, 2010, the Assistant Charity Commissioner (ACC), Maharashtra, ruled that he was not liable to continue as a trustee," Niket Mehta said.
He followed it up with an order July 21 this year, dissolving the powerful sub-committee managing the day-to-day affairs of the hospital.
The action was taken on the grounds that sub-committee head Prabodh Mehta had been convicted by a Belgian court and was not entitled to handle financial matters or take executive decisions.
Blatantly disregarding the ACC's order, Prabodh Mehta continues to be the trustee of Mumbai's most prestigious private hospital, situated in Bandra west, Niket Mehta said.
On July 23, 16 people barged into Niket Mehta's third floor office inside the hospital and brutally attacked him.
Hours after that shocking incident, his father, the renowned Mumbai philanthropist and linguist, Vijay K. Mehta, died July 24.
Based on CCTV clips, the Bandra police managed to nab around seven people for the attack.
Police hint at staff union rivalry as the cause behind the attack.
Niket Mehta has written to Police Commissioner Sanjeev Dayal over the issue and the latter has sought a report from the local police.
The Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre was set up in 1997 and in less than a decade, it became one of the leading healthcare facilities in the city.